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Burlington Company Makes Social Networking Ultralocal 

State of the Arts

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For shy types, meeting people can be a problem. Likewise if you always stick to your same old social circle — it’s harder to join in new situations or just find a buddy for a spontaneous outing when all your friends are busy. ShoutPlans is here to help. A new website designed by Social Logic Inc. of Burlington aims to facilitate planning events, meeting new people and connecting more easily with friends you already have.

Last Friday, August 31, ShoutPlans cofounders Chad Brodsky and Steve Brooks hosted a launch party at Red Square in Burlington, inviting attendees — via word of mouth and flyers posted around the city — to meet each other and the team behind this innovative software. Everyone seemed to mingle comfortably, even if most did hang with the friends they came with. The welcoming vibe matched ShoutPlans’ mission. Staffers warmly greeted guests, conversed with strangers and generally demonstrated what their product is intended to facilitate.

The crowd of future ShoutPlans users — of college age and older, both male and female — displayed enthusiasm but differed in their intentions for the social platform. Some said they expected to use it to meet new people, while others said it’s a way to organize get-togethers with friends.

According to Brodsky, ShoutPlans was something he had wanted to create for a long time. “I wanted to hang with friends, who were all spreading out, and that’s where it [ShoutPlans] started,” he explained.

Programer Matt Ferrante commented that communing with each other is human nature. “We’re social creatures,” he said, “so [ShoutPlans] makes a lot of sense.”

Aptly, ShoutPlans’ website is user-friendly, with an easy-to-navigate interface. After setting up an account — which can be linked with Facebook — you can simply log in and discover activities (entered by other users) taking place in your area. You can also search by type of event and specific location — that is, once the site is populated with more content.

A current drawback: Once users have set preferences for their activities, only those activities will be listed. If you specify only concerts, for example, you won’t see any biking or barbeque events in your area, which seems counterintuitive to ShoutPlans’ mission. You may be able to see events listed by friends regardless of category, but it’s too soon to tell.

Social Logic has created a new, localized type of social networking that will allow users to connect with friends spontaneously, or to go outside their comfort zones and meet new people. It’s got great functionality and an optimized mobile site, as well as an official app on the way. A “recommender tool” and “deal locator” are also coming soon, according to the website. ShoutPlans is worth checking out — starting with its amusing promotional video on YouTube.

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Michael Garris

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